Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. Worldwide the number is far greater. Tobacco is killing around seven million people each year, while almost one million deaths are due to non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Despite nearly 80,000 people in the UK dying from smoking-related illnesses each year, one in five adults are still regular smokers.
Though, it seems things are changing. 40 years ago, 51% of men and 41% of women were smokers. These rates have more than halved, with 15% of UK adults smoking, and 59% saying they have never smoked.
Quitting smoking is a big challenge for a person to face, and they will often need more than just willpower. There are many options now available; from campaigns such as Stoptober and local support groups to medications. For many people, hypnotherapy is an effective solution.
The reason hypnosis works so well is easy to understand. Smoking, like all habits, is controlled by the unconscious part of the mind.
- Gavin Roberts, advanced hypno-psychotherapist.
Read more in his article, 'how you can stop smoking in one session of hypnosis'.
Did you know? There are around 7.4 million adult smokers in the UK. While currently, nearly three million people in Great Britain use e-cigarettes.
When it comes to stopping smoking, it is important you know why you want to quit and are sure you are making the decision for yourself. Trying to quit when you’re not ready, or for reasons other than your own, can often lead to relapse and feeling like a failure. If you decide you want to quit and are committed to the decision, it’s more likely you’ll succeed
- Two thirds (66%) of smokers have their first cigarette of the day within one hour of waking up.
- Nearly 50 per cent of all smokers die prematurely due to smoking-related diseases.
- The life expectancy of a smoker is about 10 years less than that of a non-smoker
- In the UK, it is estimated only half of long-term smokers live past the age of 70.
- It is estimated that globally 890,000 deaths a year are caused by secondhand smoke.
- Smokers under 40 have a five times greater risk of a heart attack than non-smokers.
Why stop smoking?
Smoking increases the risk of developing a wide range of health ailments and diseases. But unfortunately, the habit doesn’t only harm the smoker’s health, it can also have a negative impact on the people around them. If smoking around children and babies, for example, they become vulnerable to many smoking-related health problems, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and the risk of cot death will increase.
Common smoking-related illnesses include:
- Infertility - Smoking affects the fertility of men and women, making it difficult to conceive.
- Gum disease - As well as staining, smoking can cause premature tooth loss due to gum disease.
- Heart disease - The UK’s 'biggest killer'. Nearly one in six cases are smoking-related.
- Lung cancer - More than eight in 10 cases of lung cancer are directly related to smoking.
- Other cancers - This includes mouth, throat, nose, blood, cervical and pancreatic cancer.
Adults who endure passive smoking for a long period of time are also at an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Tobacco is also an irritant; therefore it can make conditions such as asthma worse.
The anatomy of a cigarette
Cigarettes aren’t simply tobacco and paper. During the manufacturing process, a whole cocktail of chemicals is added. With each cigarette, a person will be inhaling harmful substances, including:
Nicotine – This is the drug that stimulates the brain and causes the addiction. If a person smokes regularly, they may experience some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may include intense cravings, increased anxiety, irritability and headaches.
Tar – After smoking tobacco, tar is the residue that is deposited into the lungs. From here, it enters the bloodstream and gets carried to other parts of the body. Tar contains over 4000 chemicals, over 50 cancer-causing carcinogens and other poisons. This is why smoking is considered one of the biggest causes of disease.
Carbon monoxide – This gas affects how much oxygen the blood can carry around the body. As a result, smoking prevents the body from getting the oxygen it needs to function smoothly. The smoker may experience shortness of breath, low energy levels and poor circulation.
Benefits of quitting smoking
It’s never too late to quit smoking (also known as smoking cessation). Whatever age you are, if you make the decision to stop, your health will benefit. However, the sooner you quit; the faster the body can recover and the risk of developing serious health conditions will decrease.
There are many benefits to stopping smoking, from more money and energy to improved physical appearance. Benefits of smoking cessation include:
As carbon monoxide affects how much oxygen the blood can carry, the body can find it difficult to function properly. When a person stops smoking, the carbon monoxide in the blood lowers. This allows the lungs and muscles to work the way they should. It also means more oxygen can reach the brain, boosting alertness and energy.
Improved immune system
Smoking causes the immune system to drop. This makes the body more susceptible to colds and flu. Quitting allows the immune system to remain healthy.
Longer life expectancy
If a person quits smoking by the age of 30, their life expectancy can increase by 10 years. Even if a smoker is 60 years old, quitting can still add three years to their life.
Within nine months of giving up, lung capacity is said to increase by as much as 10 per cent. This allows the body to carry out daily tasks without the loss of breath. The “smoker’s cough” should also disappear and any breathing conditions, such as asthma, should be reduced.
Many smokers reach for a cigarette when in a stressful situation. The immediate hit of nicotine after withdrawal may make them feel relaxed but in the long-term, smoking increases stress levels.
Younger looking skin
Smoking prematurely ages the skin. Regular smoking can leave the skin dull, dry and prone to wrinkles. When a person decides to stop smoking, the effect is reversed as the skin begins to receive the nutrients it needs. Over time, the appearance of the skin should improve.
The average cost of a 20-pack of cigarettes is £9.91. If a person is smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 10 years, they will have spent over £35,000. Quitting smoking could mean you are nearly £300.00 richer every month.
Stop smoking timeline
The time since the last cigarette and how it affects the body:
- 20 minutes: Blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
- 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels drop back to normal.
- 24 hours: The body starts to clear out the mucus build-up in the lungs.
- 72 hours: Breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase.
- 1 month: Appearance of the skin improves.
- 3 to 9 months: Lung function can improve by up to 10 per cent.
- 1 year: Risk of suffering from a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker.
- 10 years: Risk of developing lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker.
- 15 years: Risk of suffering heart attack falls to that of a non-smoker.
Hypnotherapy to quit smoking
A great number of people find hypnotherapy for smoking an effective treatment. The method works to break the negative behaviours and thinking patterns associated with smoking; like smoking to relieve stress. It is these negative thoughts and behaviours that often prevents people from successfully giving up. Quitting does not deal with the underlying issues.
So, when a person makes the decision to stop smoking, the key aspect is to let go of the routine and change how they view cigarettes. Breaking an addiction like this is a challenge; it won’t be easy, especially if it is a lifelong habit, and changing how you think about something can be difficult.
Hypnotherapy focuses on this change. The hypnotherapist will support you and guide you through the motions, you’re no longer alone in the trying to quit. Because of this, hypnotherapy is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of treatment.
When considering hypnosis to stop smoking, the first thing to do is to make sure you are ready and are choosing to quit for yourself. Hypnotherapy for smoking has been found to be most effective when the person really wants to quit and is determined in succeeding.
I highly recommend anybody that has any issue, no matter what it is, to think about hypnotherapy as an option.
- Read Kev's story.
Can you quit smoking through hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy works by guiding the individual into a deep, relaxed state. During this time, the mind is more open to suggestion and change. At this point, the hypnotherapist makes suggestions, which will help you in changing your thought patterns and behaviours associated with smoking.
Suggestions will be tailored to you, but will be along the lines of “I do not want a cigarette” and “the smell of cigarette smoke makes me feel unwell”. They may also ask you to visualise smoking a cigarette, but imagining an unpleasant taste or smell. This can help build an association - when you think of smoking, the unpleasant thoughts will come as well.
It’s common to be taught self-hypnosis techniques to practise at home, long after your sessions are over. This means that when a potential trigger occurs, you know how to cope with the feeling.
Many people find hypnotherapy is enough to break the habit, while others prefer to combine the treatment with NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) or medication. Of course, everyone is different and what may work for one person, may not work for you. By exploring all options, you should be able to find a suitable and effective treatment. The best thing is to speak to people - friends, family, other people who have quit. Discussing your options with your doctor and hypnotherapist can also help you understand what may be best for you.
It is important to remember that hypnotherapy for smoking is not a quick fix. While for some people, one session is enough to quit smoking (or continue the journey alone), others may benefit from follow-up sessions. The ultimate aim of hypnosis for smoking is to empower people to take control of their addiction and improve their health.
Finding a hypnotherapist
If you would like to consider hypnotherapy to help you quit smoking, the next step is to find a professional near you and give them a call. It may feel daunting at first, but it could be the first step to a much healthier life.
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